How to make a knitting basket cake

knitting basket cake

Two years ago I made a 3D knitting basket cake. The cake got so many great comments and the cake was featured on a lot of knitting blogs 🙂 Last year I was asked to do a tutorial on how to make the knitting basket cake by Desserts Magazines. I want to share it here as  well. It is a really fun cake to make and if you know or have a family member who just loves to knit, this cake will be a big hit.

For this cake I preferred to use a firm and moist cake like a Chocolate Mud Cake. But any firm cake of your choice can of course be used.

This is what I use:
1 x 8″ cake in preffered shape: Round, oval or square
1 x 6″ cake (this cake will be blended and mixed with a little bit of buttercream or chocolate ganache to a cake ball mixture)
Cake board
Buttercream or chocolate ganache
Sugar syrup
Serrated knife
Small knife
Angle spatular
Rolling pin
Basket weave embosser from Patchwork Cutters or a basket weave textured rolling pin.
Sugarcraft Gun with medium round disc
2 small paint brushes
White Shortening (Crisco) or Petal Base
Silver edible liquid color
Brown food gel color
Gel food colors of your choice for the ball of yarns. I like to use three matching shades.
Clear alcohol
2 wooden BBQ sticks
Cornstarch or powdered sugar
White rolled fondant icing
Cornstarch dusting bag
Block of styrofoam
Edible glue

Knitting needles:
Start by rolling 2 small fondant balls and glue them to the end of the BBQ sticks with some edible glue. Set aside and let it dry. When dry, paint both BBQ sticks with silver edible liquid color and place them in the block of styrofoam and set a side.


Ball of yarn, step 1:
Trim of the top of the 6″ cake and place it in a bowl and break it down with a fork (a food processor can be used instead) add 2 tbsp of buttercream or chocolate ganache to start with and mix the cake mixture until it can be rolled into balls. Make sure that they can fit into the basket cake (use you chosen cake pan as a guide) Place the cake balls on a plate and put them in the refrigerator to firm .


Ball of yarn, step 2:
Color some of the fondant in your chosen colors and take out 1 cake ball at a time. Brush the cake ball lightly with sugar syrup and set aside while you roll out some fondant. Next cover the cake ball with fondant and trim the edge with a knife. You do not need it to get all smooth, because you will add strings of fondant on top next. Continue with the last 2 cake balls.

Tip! To make the fondant more easy to push through the sugarcraft gun, knead in a little white shortening (Petal Base) and drops of water. Then load the sugarcraft gun with fondant and use the medium round disc. Push out long strings of fondant and lay them close together like shown on the photo.


Ball of yarn, step 3:
Brush edible glue on one end of the cake ball and with a knife cut the strings like shown on the photo. Place it on the ball and repeat on the other end of the cake ball.

Continue making more strings of fondant with the sugarcraft gun. Brush with glue on the ball and place them across on the ball. Do this twice, only now placing them the oposite way. Set aside and continue with the last two fondant covered cake balls.



Remember to save some of the excess fondant for later to make extra strings.

Basket cake, step 1:
Give the cake a light crumb coat with buttercream or chocolate ganache and set aside. Color some fondant in a light brown color, roll it out and cut a “lid” in the same size as the cake, using the cake pan the cake was baked in. Trim off any excess fondant if needed. Knead the light brown fondant and roll it out, long enough to go around the cake. Take the basket weave embosser, dust it well with cornstarch/ powdered sugar and emboss the fondant in the same height as the cake. Cut it into a long strip and roll up the fondant.



Basket cake, step 2:
Roll the embossed fondant around the cake. Trim off any excess fondant and remove any left over cornstarch with a dry brush.


Basket cake, step 3:
Make 2 long sausages (long enough to go all the way around the top of the basket cake) out of the light brown fondant and twist the two sausages together to make a robe. Cut the ends clean and glue it on the top of the cake with a little edible glue.


Basket cake, step 4:
Mix brown food gel color with drops of clear alcohol on a plate and paint the whole basket cake with a brush. Set aside and allow to dry.


Assembling the cake:
To assemble the knitting basket cake, take the three “balls of yarn” and place them in the basket. Make more strings in the same colors as the “yarn” and place them randomly on top. Finish by placing the knitting needles in the basket (see top photo).



Happy Caking!



    • Hey Rachel, thanks for asking, and nice blog! Sure, go ahead and share the picture, I hope your readers will like it. Thanks!

  1. I’d like to break this up into 2 decorating days- bad idea? I’m thinking of covering the cake balls 1 day and the cake the next.
    Thank you!

  2. I was just asked to make this cake, after I shared the photo. Questions: 1×8″ cake? I assume you mean 1 – 8″ cake ( not 1″ tall pan). And I assume that I could make 3 layers of cake- just need to adjust the width of fondant.
    Last- Since you have done this cake- how do you think it would look in buttercream basket weave/rope border w/fondant yarn or in modeling chocolate? She is not a big fan of fondant on cake. Excited to make this and appreciate your input. Thank you.

  3. I love this cake! I see that you made this all in one day, but I have two small children and will be making this cake at home while they’re in school, and then traveling with it out of town a day or two later. How far ahead can you make everything, and how would you store it while working on other pieces, or after it is finished until I get it to its destination? Thank you in advance!

  4. This cake is AWESOME and thank you so much for the set by step tutorial! My only question is did you tort and fill the basket part of the cake or just leave it as is? The pictures really didn’t show that part. Someone may have all ready asked but I am too excited to read through all the answers!! I can’t wait to make this for my mother! She has knitted sweaters for me and my children and also has knitted all the throws that are in my house! I can’t wait to see the look on her face when we present this cake to her!!!

  5. Amazing cake. Did you do everything with fondant (no gum paste?). If yes how long do you need to do it in advance that the fondant does not dry out?

    • Only fondant 🙂 Well unless the knitting pins. Not sure what you mean with the fondant drying out?? The covered knitting basket was easier to paint when the fondant had dried a little. I stored the “yarn” in a air tight box while finishing the rest. and then palaced them all in the basket before losely decorating with strings of yarn. I think if you work intense it can be done within three hours. The most time consuming part is making the yarn.

      • Thanks so much for your answer Louise. Much appreciated. I planning to make a similar cake on the evening before it get served (next day in the afternoon) and was just slightly worried the yarn might dry out. But it looks to me you didnt really experience that.

      • There is cake ball mixture inside the “yarn” so no. The only thing that would dry out the most is the strings of “yarn” place randomly around. Good luck with the project and I would love to see your finished cake if possible :-)? Just send the photo to my email which you find under contact on the front page.

  6. Thought this cake was fantastic so made it for an 80 year old lady who knits for charity, it was a great success, everyone thought the balls of wool were real. Thanks for the idea.

  7. Thanks for the reply…. Your work is amazing, thank you for sharing your talent and posting the great tutorials …. Looking forward to many more… Thanks again

  8. thats just amazing.. love love love it ! Is there any other way of making the yarn around the round cake. I dont have a sugar craft gun.. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas.

    • If I did not have a sugar craft gun. I would properly just roll out the yarn strings by hand 🙂 I don’t think that this would take much more longer.

      • is there anyway to get your picture on the knitting basket tutorial to show up….all I see is cartoon like cows on my screen. this is a great word explanation…i such a visual learner….thank you

  9. Fab cake. I’m thinking of making this for my mother in laws 70th birthday but will have to make it about a week in advance, will that be ok or will it go a bit stale? Thanks.

    • Apologies for the late reply. If you use a good pound cake and buttercream and keep the cake in a cool place it should be OK. Just make sure that the ingredients will not expire before after the cake have been eaten.

  10. Hi, This is an amazing cake. You are very talented! I have one little question about painting the cake. What does the alcohol do? Can we paint the cake just with the food color and not use the alcohol? Or is there anything else that we can use instead of alcohol? (Extracts have alcohol in them too so I am looking for a substitution that does not have any alcohol in it). Thank you.

  11. Shannon: When I now and then make home made RF, I will make MMF. But at all times I am a ready bought RF user. I use a great danish brand. For other brand have I heard good about following: Fondx and Satin Ice.

  12. 😀 thank you Louise 🙂 I was quite pleased with it and my mother was so happy when I showed up with it on her birthday 🙂

    Good luck to you Shannon with your cake!
    I made the microwave fondant for the first time with that cake I did, and it turned out great 😀

  13. I cannot wait to make this cake for my mother-in-law who loves to knit! My only concern is making the rolled fondant. I tried once and it reaaally did NOT turn out. Not sure what I did wrong. I’ll use your recipe and try again. Do you have any comments about store bought RF? Is there a great difference between store bought and homemade? Love your blog, thank you!

  14. Hi Louise
    Thank you so much for posting this! Really fantastic instructions – I can’t wait to make it! A family friend asked me to make a wedding shower cake with a knitting theme – i’m definitely going to use some of your techniques! Say, how much would you charge for it? Thank you!!

  15. Thanks Louise so much for this cake, I made it for a crocheter whose birthday was yesterday(07/03) and when I presented it to her she got such a huge smile on her face and stated “I just can’t believe it”. Again thanks!

  16. Louise, you are amazing. I’ve just posted you as the Australian “Cake of the Week”! I hope you love it and thanks for the inspiration! I hope you love us over at Australia Entertains and Pink Frosting too xo

  17. Yes, spirulina works…I have to mix it well with icing sugar first, and then add water or fresh egg whites (my icings are pretty basic…), but so far I have only tried with pouring icing, not the thick ones.

    So far the colour is not super smooth, I will work on it.

  18. Sandy R: you can use either of it.

    Lex: you can get the sugar gun from

    Maggie: search for “chocolate mud cake” this is such a nice cake. Lots of chocolate and is so good for carving.

    Lauri: pls see my reply for Sandy R in this comment.

    Anja. im sure that you can can do it 🙂

    bonita: I use a clear vodka, It is safe to eat because when you mix/paint the alcohol will evaporate so you cant taste the alcohol. You could also use lemon extract.

    Aurelie Martins: well you could try look for a clay gun instead they are a bit cheaper and is ok to use. I dont think that you would get a good result with the machanical pasty bag.

    Jacqui: I use powder and or gels.

  19. Loiuse, I love all of your creations and especially the colours. What do you use for colouring. Do you you gel or powder and what make. Thanks for the inspiration.

  20. Hi Louise,

    I love your blog, so many helpful tips!

    I would like to make this cake for my sister’s future mother in law. However, I do not own a sugarcraft gun and I’m not sure if I want to spend $45 to get one, although it would be helpful. Is there anything else that I could use instead to make the yarn? I have a mechanical pasty bag from Williams N Sonoma, do you think that it could work?

    Any suggestions you have would be truly appreciated!

  21. hi … im one of your blog reader:) i was wondering what kind of alcohol do u use to mix with the brown food coloring … is that safe to eat …


  22. So beautiful. I would love to make a cake like this for my mother, she knits all the time, and it would be just perfect! But I think it is a bit to difficult for me…

    Hugs from Anja

  23. Hi Louise, it is so sweet of you to share this step by step tutorial with us. u are not only talented but also a generous person. may god bless with you.

  24. Another amazing tutorial, Louise! I’ve been wanting to make this cake since I got my clay gun -and thanks for the tip of laying the yarn side-by-side! I’m sure that saved me many hours and heartache. These yarn balls would be cute sitting on cupcakes, too:)

  25. Wow!! I cannot wait to make this for my Thursday night “Sit n Knit”!! Thank you SOOO much for the tutorial! One question though, I am also wondering about Sandy R’s question….corn syrup or sugar & water?

    Thank you SOO much for sharing!!

  26. You did it again : taking the guessing and wandering and a whole lotta more out of yet another awesome creation … THANX Louise!!

  27. Thanks for the wonderful tips on how to make this cute cake. Can you share some of your cake recipes as the box mixes here produce such soft cakes.

  28. It’s real pretty ! As always !

    What kind of cake is inside the cake balls? Do you have a receipe for it, it looks really delicious.

  29. THAT IS AMAZING!!!!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing. I don’t know anyone who knits but boy do i want to try and use the techniques you have shown. Where do you buy the sugar guns in the US?

  30. Thank you for sharing your tutorial. I always wondered how to make a cake like this and I love when feloow bakers will share how to create projects. Yoou never know when you might have a customers who might want something like this cake.

    Congratulations on the magazine feature. I love reading your posts.

    Thank you again!!!

  31. I’m an avid knitter and I would be so pleased if someone gave me this cake, it’s heaven really, edible yarn!

  32. oops, I forgot to ask, what do you mean by sugar syrup? Is it store bought (corn syrup)or made at home (sugar &water)?

    Thanks again.


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